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  1. Updates on Wednesday, 3 May 2017
  2. Poppyfields death: Defendant, 87, dies before court appearance
  3. Murder arrest after man found dead in park
  4. Cambridgeshire javelin thrower Goldie Sayers retires with 'deep sense of injustice'

Live Reporting

By Adam Jinkerson

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Good morning

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

Welcome back to live updates for Friday, 5 May.

It's a busy day for Cambridgeshire as we bring you results of the county council and mayoral elections.

We're not expecting those results until a little bit later this afternoon. We will, of course, keep you up-to-date with all the facts and figures across the day, as they come in. 

Votes being counted

You can get in touch with the team by email, Twitter and Facebook.

Our live coverage for the day

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

That's it from us for today. We'll be back tomorrow from 08:00.

Scroll back through today's feed for anything you may have missed, including highlights of BBC Radio Cambridgeshire's county council debate.

Stay tuned to this page overnight for any breaking news from around the county.

We'll leave you with something that'll make you go, "I can't believe it was that long ago".

View more on twitter

That's right. Twenty years since the band formed in Cambridge won the Eurovision Song Contest.

There's been a few nil points since then! Hopefully Lucie will do us proud a week on Saturday.

See you again soon.

Huntingdon plane crash: Archive shots from the scene

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

You may remember it like it was yesterday, but today marks 40 years since an RAF plane crashed into a row of houses on the Oxmoor estate in Huntingdon.

The crash killed five people, including three children all under the age of five.

Here are some shots our cameras took from the scene back when it happened...

Archive shots from plane crash
Archive shots from plane crash
Archive shots from plane crash

'We had no idea what was going on'

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

A serviceman based at RAF Wyton when the plane came down on homes said they "had no idea what the problem was" when the crash alert was received.

Shaun Boland

Shaun Boland said he "just jumped into a vehicle" with his colleagues.

"I had no idea what was going on until the vehicle pulled out of RAF Wyton, then I could see a big pile of smoke.

"That's when we knew something terrible had happened.

"I was first out of the vehicle. There was mayhem. People rushing towards me. Civilians saying there was children in there.

"We had a lot of flames and a lot of smoke.

"You just start acting on your instincts and adrenaline. Your training kicks in."

In total, five people were killed on the Oxmoor estate in Huntingdon on 3 May 1977 - three of them children.

Mother of baby killed in plane crash 'couldn't get son out'

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

The mother of three-and-a-half-month-old Adrian Thompson was at today's memorial service in Huntingdon.

The boy died when the RAF plane crashed into his house while he was asleep 40 years ago.

Brenda Thompson (left) was in her kitchen having tea with a friend when the plane came down, and said she "couldn't get him out".

Brenda Thompson and Nicola Allen

"I remember the sound of the plane, and this plane was close," she said.

"I said, 'that plane doesn't sound right'. And the next thing, down it came and there was this explosion and flames and fire. We were trying to get out the back of the house.

"I got Nicola (right) out, but Adrian was asleep upstairs but I couldn't get upstairs to get him."

Weather: A mixed bag...

Julie Reinger

BBC Look East weather

A largely cloudy night with a few clear spells and some outbreaks of mainly light showery rain. The cloud and north-easterly wind will mean no frost. 

weather graphic
BBC Weather

Tomorrow will see some showers, or outbreaks of showery rain, but a lot of dry weather too.

Hopefully there’ll also be some brightness and sunshine at times. 

Temperatures around 10C (50F) on the coast and 12-13C (54-55F) inland.

BBC Weather has more local forecasts. 

Plane crash aftermath 'looked like a film set'

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

A witness to the RAF plane crash in Huntingdon in 1977 that killed five people said the scene shortly after it happened "looked like a film set".

Michael Catalina was a student at Huntingdon College when one of his friends said he "saw the plane fall out the sky".

Michael Catalina

"We thought he was joking at first, but when we ran outside it confirmed his suspicions," he said.

"Six of us jumped in the car and we drove towards the area of the smoke.

"When we got there, you could see both engines. There was still smoke coming from them.

"Unfortunately we heard children screaming in the upstairs apartment, but there was nothing we could do.

"I was just walking around in a state of shock."

Plane crash memorial service takes place

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

As you may have already spotted in the Hunts Post, 40 years since a plane crash killed five people in Huntingdon, including three children, a memorial service has taken place to remember the lost lives.

Memorial service

On 3 May 1977, an RAF aircraft crashed into a row of terraced houses on Norfolk Road, on the Oxmoor estate, while approaching RAF Wyton.

Adrian Thompson, Kelly Middleton, Tracey Middleton, Lawrence Davies and John Armitage were all killed when the plane crashed a few miles short of the RAF base.

A memorial bench and five tree plaques shaped as doves were also unveiled at Sapley Park - a short distance from where the crash happened.

Memorial bench
Ricky Miller

Peterborough United sign prolific Dover Athletic striker Ricky Miller, who scored 42 goals in all competitions this season.

Read more

Striker puts pen to paper for Posh

Peter Swan

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire sport

Ricky Miller with Grant McCann
Joe Dent

Peterborough have agreed their first summer signing to strengthen their striking setup.

Ricky Miller, 28, joins on a free from Dover on a three-year deal.  

Miller, who grew up in Peterborough, has scored 42 goals for the National League side this season.

Yesterday, Posh released a list of players they will be retaining and transfer-listing over the summer.

Murder arrest after man found dead in park

Police have arrested a 34-year-old woman from Peterborough on suspicion of murder following the discovery of a body in Fletton.

Officers were contacted about a sudden death of a 53-year-old man in a park close to Queens Walk at 10:45 on Sunday.

A post-mortem examination is due to take place later.

The woman remains in custody at Thorpe Wood Police Station, a spokesman said.

Park off Queens Walk, Peterborough

Attempts are being made to trace the man's next-of-kin. He is believed to be from the Peterborough area and of no fixed abode.

Officers are also keen to speak to anyone who was in the area in the early hours of Sunday, or who saw anything suspicious. 

In particular they would like to hear from anyone who saw a person on a mobility scooter, or who had one moved or stolen during the night.

Lunchtime weather: Turning cold

BBC Weather

Any early brightness is likely to be short-lived, as cloud will thicken from the south-east with the odd burst of light showery rain developing.

It's windy and will feel cold everywhere.

Highs of 11C (52F).

Weather outlook

BBC Weather has more.

Ely Cathedral

Motorists often end up stuck in queues between Cambridge and Ely - what can politicians do to help?

Read more

Why 14 black male Cambridge students posed for this photo

"Young black men don't grow up thinking they'll make it here. They should."

This was the intended message behind a photo of 14 black male students from Cambridge University that has been liked more than 2,000 times on Facebook.

Jimi Babasola and Peter Adefioye are two of the people in the picture of 14 black male students.

The group posed for several images that were shared in a bid to encourage more black students to apply to the university.

The post on Facebook said: "In 2015, only 15 black, male undergraduates were accepted into Cambridge.

"However, it is important that despite their under-representation, we let young black people know that this is something that they can aspire to."

Of 3,449 students accepted into Cambridge during the 2015-2016 academic year, 38 defined themselves as black - a proportion of just over 1%. This figure did not include any students who defined themselves on their application as mixed race.

Barry Fry

Peterborough director of football Barry Fry is predicting the most challenging period of his 21 years at the club.

Read more

Goldie Sayers: British javelin thrower retires with 'deep sense of injustice'

BBC Sport

Retirement is supposed to signal a full-stop. The end of one life, the start of another. A sense of satisfaction, a sense of closure.

There should be no limbo. But for Cambridgeshire's Goldie Sayers - the 11-time British javelin champion and three-time Olympian who announced the conclusion of her athletics career on Wednesday - the wondering and "what ifs" will follow her into the future.

Goldie Sayers
Getty Images

After eight years of waiting, Sayers was told in September that she was being retrospectively awarded Olympic bronze from the 2008 Beijing Games. Mariya Abakumova, the Russian who had finished second and who Sayers had always suspected of cheating, failed a doping retest for a banned steroid.

Sayers, now 34, celebrated with a coffee in Waitrose with her mother, Liz. And then the limbo began: Abakumova appealing against her disqualification, the legal process slowing to a crawl, no medal in the post and no idea of when any of it will end.

"Initially I was just really happy," explained Sayers. "I'd been chasing something that had eluded me and then all of a sudden, driving down the M11, I had it.

"But actually now I'm much angrier about it - and I'm not an angry person at all. There's a deep sense of injustice.

"I was desperate to draw a line under my career and move on because I think endings are important - but at this rate I'll be drawing my pension before I get an Olympic medal."

Read more on this story here.

Poppyfields care home

A court is told that Brendon Constant, 87, died after a fall at home before his case could be heard.

Read more
Cambridge students are often 'not people who look like us'
Jimi Babasola and Peter Adefioye are two of the people in the picture of 14 black male students.

Poppyfields death: Defendant, 87, dies before court appearance

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

An 87-year-old man accused of murdering his wife by smothering her with a plastic bag has died after a fall at home before his court case could be heard.

Brendon Constant, of Richmond Road, Wisbech, was charged with the murder of his 86-year-old wife Jean at Poppyfields care home in Eynesbury, St Neots, last August.

A post-mortem examination concluded that Mrs Constant died of plastic bag asphyxia in association with heart disease.

Poppyfields care home

Earlier today Cambridge Crown Court heard Mr Constant also attempted to kill himself at Poppyfields in a murder-suicide bid, but survived and faced court proceedings.

Sally Hobson, the barrister representing Mr Constant, said he died after sustaining "catastrophic head injuries" in a fall on 27 April while celebrating his grandson's birthday.

Ms Hobson said there was "no suggestion that Mr Constant took his own life" while awaiting his court date.

"He was able to join in a celebration of his grandson's birthday then when he retired to bed he spoke briefly to his great-granddaughter, wished her a good night then went upstairs and fell," she said.

The pensioner was taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital, where his family agreed to switch-off his life support machine the following day.

"He had hoped to end his life together with his wife in August last year in circumstances they hoped would cause the least distress and discomfort," said Ms Hobson.

"Unfortunately it's ended in a murder charge."

Mr Constant did not enter a plea to the murder charge before his death.

The debate is over

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

That's it for our highlights of the Cambridgeshire County Council election debate. Thanks for joining us.

You've been hearing views from the main parties taking part in Thursday's election. There are also Green Party and independent candidates standing in the election.

You can catch up with the main points from the debate below, but we'll now continue with our rolling news for Cambridgeshire.

Why should people go out and vote?

Inside shire hall

Ashley Walsh (Labour) - "People should vote because the county council is a nearly half-a-billion-pound authority. It spends a huge amount of money and it has a huge amount of responsibility.

"They should vote Labour because we combine the fiscal prudence needed with a commercial property portfolio, with sensible tax rises, combined with genuine principle on equality, housing and transport."

Steve Count (Conservative) - "It's important to go out and vote and we are the people that will be making a difference to your day-to-day livelihoods. That's the point of what a local county council does.

"Moving forwards, the Conservatives are the only party that strike the best balance between efficiency and tax rises."

Pete Reeve (UKIP) - "Whilst the Conservatives are backed by Labour in tax rises for Cambridgeshire, it's only UKIP that are consistent with having tax freeze guarantees for Cambridgeshire residents.

"We are also the only party that is very honest that we will put local people and veterans first in terms of housing."

Lucy Nethsingha (Lib Dem) - "I would really ask that people go out and vote on Thursday. These elections are really important.

"The services that the county council provides are crucial for some of our most vulnerable residents. We need to make sure that those services are of a decent quality."

Your big issues: Housing, transport and the state of our roads

The big topics that came up when our BBC bus recently toured the county was three things: Housing, transport and the state of our roads, all of which are county council issues.

But how would these issues be dealt with?


Lucy Nethsingha (Lib Dem) - "The raising of council tax does make a difference. It's not going to fix things quickly but it does work. Particularly with things like the state of our roads, which have been getting worse and worse and I totally understand why people are so frustrated with that. 

"Unfortunately, the maintenance money comes from the revenue pot and that's the bit that's under huge pressure and where the council tax would make a difference."

Ashley Walsh (Labour) - "On housing, it was Labour councillors working with other councillors from parties across the county and city councils that got the 500 council houses for greater Cambridge, and also tens of millions pounds of affordable housing. 

"We would raise council tax to create an £11m investment fund for the market towns and the larger conurbations of the county, including Cambridge, so that we can get those potholes and those roads done first. 

"We then have a problem of rural isolation that we have to deal with."

Steve Count (Conservative) - "The Conservatives proposed an extra £2.5m for pothole repairs for the budget in February and other parties voted that down, and we finally got it through with no increase in council tax. 

"Putting that in perspective, with a budget of about £1.16m at the moment, that extra money for pothole repairs and for grass cutting about doubles the amount of potholes we'd be able to do. That was voted against by Lib Dems and Labour."

Pete Reeve (UKIP) - "UKIP is the only party being honest about these issues. Whilst we have mass migration into the UK, those services will remain under pressure. Houses will remain expensive. Whilst we are building houses all over Cambridgeshire and not building roads, we will find that Cambridgeshire people remain priced out of the market."

Can more savings be made at the county council?

Steve Count (Conservative) - "Cambridgeshire County Council, under the direction of what was a Conservative majority over four years ago, created LGSS, which actually means sharing all of our back office with Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes, so our back office has been really trimmed down.

"We've also introduced sharing in Peterborough and that's how we've managed to drive costs down."

Lucy Nethsingha (Lib Dem) - "The council has made really enormous cuts over the past four years. I don't really believe there is any more fat to be trimmed from within the bureaucracy in the council without having an impact on front-line services, and I think we're already seeing that impact on front-line services."

Ashley Walsh (Labour) - "What we have in effect is a reorganisation of local government. 

"If you live in some parts of Cambridgeshire now you could have a town councillor, parish councillor, district councillor, county councillor and MP, and we think it's regrettable that the government insisted that we have the mayoralty. 

"Labour at city and council level supported the devolution deal, so we could have extra investment in council houses and affordable housing."

Pete Reeve (UKIP) - "I'm very proud how all the parties have worked together on projects such as sharing a chief executive, but UKIP is very clear that we would go much further. 

"We don't need all these buildings for all these different councils. We shouldn't have a mayor who's spending nearly £1m of taxpayers' money on new offices. Let's have a single council. Let's save up to £60m-a-year doing that. People don't want all these various layers."

Would your party raise council tax?

Lucy Nethsingha (Lib Dem) - "We've been very clear that we would put up council tax by the 4% that central government were expecting us to. That would bring in an extra £5m. 

"It won't mean the county council will suddenly have lots of money to do lots of wonderful things like we'd like to do. It would just allow us to make the minimum investments we need in our care services."

Pete Reeve (UKIP) - "I have never voted for a tax rise in my political life and I never intend to. UKIP is very clear. 

"The only way to fix adult social care in this country is to divert money from the foreign aid budget. £9bn of that can go into health and adult social care and help solve the problem."

Steve Count (Conservative) - "We've taken a very pragmatic approach. We know that our budget has fluctuated on a yearly basis by immense amounts, so we've had to wait until we got to the end to see if we could deliver our services within the package. 

"The Conservatives do believe in low taxation, and we've manage to match the taxation we've asked for - 2% for adult social care precept - but only the adult social care precept, and we're still delivering our services."

Ashley Walsh (Labour) - "When the Conservative government said the council could raise council tax by up to 4 or even 5%, they were thinking of a council like Cambridgeshire. 

"We would raise the money straight into social care services, but we would also use the council's spare reserves to massively expand the council's own commercial property investment, to create long-term revenues to fund services without having to rely on council tax or government funding."

Why should people vote for your party? Ashley Walsh (Labour)

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

Ashley Walsh

"The key issue that we stand for is equality.

"Not just for the city of Cambridge, which people often think of, but the vast inequalities between greater Cambridge and areas like Fenland in particular, which have some of the worst deprivation levels in western Europe.

"We would raise council tax, as the Conservative government said we should, in order to raise the money to properly fund our social care services, to properly fund our schools and to make sure we build council houses, particularly in greater Cambridge, and affordable housing across the county, so that we can get a more equal county."

Why should people vote for your party? Steve Count (Conservative)

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

Steve Count

"It's been a very difficult four years. There's been no overall control. Working in a committee system, 17 people in a room at a time with five different parties, trying to come to what has always been a compromised decision.

"We stand for the ability to have clarity of thought moving forwards. We will take each issue as they come on the subject of council tax.

"We've had a balanced approach over the last four years and we're very proud of our record, despite the overwhelming odds against us to deliver."

Why should people vote for your party? Pete Reeve (UKIP)

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

Pete Reeve

"I'm very proud of UKIP's track record. We are the only party that stands for tax freezes in Cambridgeshire. We genuinely believe that your money is better off in your pocket than in the county council's coffers.

"Not one penny of all the tax rises that UKIP has been opposing has been spent on services. It's been held in the county council bank account and we think that's just wrong. 

"We're also the only party standing up to protect the countryside and to put local people and veterans first."

Why should people vote for your party? Lucy Nethsingha (Lib Dem)

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

Lucy Nethsingha

"The thing that we've been campaigning hardest on for the past two years is to increase the amount of money that's been available for our public services.

"We think that the Conservatives on the county council, supported by UKIP, have been keeping council tax down, which has meant that many of our services such as school services, care services and bus services have had greater cuts than is actually needed and that was expected by central government.

"We could have had an extra £5m this year that could have gone into supporting care services.

"Those care services are critical for the NHS and for elderly people in particular.

"We think that money is really needed and that's what's we've been fighting for."

Election debate: The current county council make-up

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

Normally we talk about a council being Labour-run or Conservative-run etc.

At the moment Cambridgeshire County Council is under no overall control, meaning there's no party that has a majority - or more than half the number of councillors. So if a party wants to get their policy through, they must get support from councillors from other parties.

From 1997 to 2013, the Conservatives had control of the council, but then we had the surge in support for UKIP in the county that changed the balance of power and took away the Tory majority.

There are 61 councillors being elected this year, so one party will need to get 31 seats to get a majority.

The Conservatives will be hoping to take back control, but the other parties will be trying their best to stop them.

Shire Hall sign
Fractal Angel/Geograph

Just Cambridgeshire?

In 1998, Peterborough City Council broke away from the control of Cambridgeshire County Council and became a unitary authority, which replaces having county and district councils. They had their elections last year.

Peterborough residents are still being asked to elect a mayor for the Combined Authority of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough on Thursday.

The changing role of county councils

Nic Rigby

BBC News

We've told you what county councils do... but how is their role changing?

Over the last few years we've seen a rationalisation of assets, a huge number of redundancies and savings on all the key services.

Shire Hall
Duncan Grey/Geograph

Jonathan Carr-West is the chief executive of the Local Government Information Unit.

He says it's not going to get easier to run county councils.

We'll see a shift in how a council functions and what they do... they'll become less about delivering services and more about investing in local areas - driving growth, facilitating the voluntary sector, bringing together other branches of the state at a local level... their role will shift from delivery to facilitation."

Jonathan Carr-WestLocal Government Information Unit

The role of the county council

Nic Rigby

BBC News

County councils are hugely important - they make the decisions that affect our everyday lives.

They run many of the services that we rely on, whether that's looking after vulnerable people, safeguarding children, libraries - and 70% of the roads are maintained by the council.

Getty Images

These decisions are not made by MPs in Westminster, but decided by county councils.

It's a difficult job - there are reduced resources along with increasing demand in some areas, such as adult social care and children's services.

Grants from central government are repeatedly cut, and the government's intention is to phase out central government funding entirely by 2020. 

So by then, local government will be entirely financed by money it raises locally... primarily business rates and council tax.

Welcome to the county council election debate

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

Good morning and thanks for joining us as we bring you highlights of BBC Radio Cambridgeshire's debate aired yesterday evening, with representative of parties contesting the election for Cambridgeshire County Council.

Presented by Chris Mann, the panel included Lucy Nethsingha (Lib Dem), Pete Reeve (UKIP), Steve Count (Conservative) and Ashley Walsh (Labour).

Tomorrow, many of us will be going to the polls to vote for a new county council. Traditionally turnout is low - about half that of a general election.

Highlights will begin shortly.


Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

Thanks for joining us today, it's been a hoot having you.


This stunning image was captured at Trumpington Meadows yesterday by our reporter Alex Harris, using a newly-acquired second-hand camera. Not bad, eh?

Scroll down to read back through all the day's news and sport in Cambridgeshire. We'll be back with rolling updates again from 08:00 tomorrow.

See you then!

Ambulance service receives 9,000 calls in 72 hours

Adam Jinkerson

BBC Local Live

Almost 9,000 calls were made to the East of England Ambulance Service over the three-day Bank Holiday weekend.

Demand was up in Essex, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, while there was a reduction in 999 calls in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Suffolk, compared with the same period last year.

Sunday was the busiest day of the weekend with more than 3,100 calls received. The service sent a response to 2,305 incidents that day.

Ambulance control room
East of England Ambulance Service

Robert Morton, chief executive, said: "Whilst many people in the East of England were enjoying an extended weekend, our managers, staff and volunteers were working hard to provide the best possible care to our patients.

"I'd like to pay tribute to them for their efforts and dedication on what was another busy weekend."

Here's the county-by-county breakdown of calls this weekend, compared with 2016 in brackets.

Bedfordshire: 869 (938) Cambridgeshire: 1,200 (1,185) Essex: 2,932 (2,772) Herts: 1,400 (1,559) Norfolk: 1,454 (1,400) Suffolk: 1,142 (1,182)

Overnight weather: Cloudy and mild

Alex Dolan

BBC Look East weather

This evening will be rather cloudy across the BBC East region, with some patchy light rain at times.

It will continue to be cloudy and mild overnight, with lows of 6C (43F).

Wednesday's weather map

We're due more of the same on Wednesday, although it'll feel chilly in easterly winds.

Top temperature: 11C (52F).

Get more on the forecast where you are from BBC Weather.

Posh retained list: 'A few surprises'

Nick Fairbairn

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire sport

I've been looking into the retained list released by Peterborough United, showing players who will be staying next season and those that have been put on the transfer list.

There are some surprises, but not too many...

View more on twitter

Posh publish retained list

Peter Swan

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire sport

Peterborough United have published their list of players that will continue with the club into the new season, as well as those that have been transfer listed.

Michael Bostwick and Marcus Maddison are among the players made available for a move.  

Peterborough's retained list

Manager Grant McCann had indicated he was unhappy with the attitude shown by some of the current players in the squad.

Football abuse investigation: Man released on bail

Helen Burchell

BBC News

An 81-year-old man charged as part of an investigation into alleged abuse in football in Cambridgeshire has been released on bail.

Former coach Eric Cooper, of The Shade, Soham, is accused of two counts of indecency with a boy under 14.

The alleged offences took place between 31 December 1967 and 1 January 1970.

Mr Cooper appeared before magistrates and was released on unconditional bail.

He is next due at Cambridge Crown Court on 31 May.

He was arrested by officers investigating historical abuse allegations related to football in the county.

Magistrates were told Mr Cooper had been involved with non-league football in Cambridgeshire.

Michael Bostwick

Michael Bostwick and Marcus Maddison are among 11 transfer-listed by League One side Peterborough United.

Read more